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Self-care and working with trauma

Self-care and working with trauma

Self-care and working with trauma

Working in a role supporting people who have experienced family violence can be rewarding, but it can also be challenging.

Working with trauma

In Victoria, we are working on addressing family violence at an unprecedented rate and the demands on specialist family violence workers are particularly high. Specialist family violence services work with victim survivors in crisis and support them to manage serious risk posed by perpetrators. They also support victim survivors to navigate a complex and often ill-equipped service system.

Workers commonly experience symptoms of trauma and burnout from ongoing exposure to family violence risk and impacts and working in this really challenging context.

Specialist family violence services work hard to ensure they provide a safe and supportive work environment for practitioners. Regular supervision, debriefing and support, as well as access to employee assistance programs and opportunities for reflective practice, are all important ways that services enable your success in these roles. They will also encourage a positive workplace environment, regular breaks and will support you to take leave to ensure you can sustain your work.

If you’ve experienced family violence

Given the high prevalence of family violence in the community, it is inevitable that the workforce includes people with their own past or current lived experiences of family violence.

Victim survivors played a lead role in establishing the family violence sector and continue to inform specialist family violence services by providing advice and insights to inform service delivery and policy. Many practitioners and leaders in the sector have their own lived experience of family and gendered violence also.

If you have experienced family violence, you may find that aspects of the work trigger you or impact your wellbeing. This can occur even if you’ve received counselling and support. This is a normal response and provided you have appropriate organisational support and strategies in place, should not act as a barrier to you working in the sector or with victim survivors of family violence.

Lived experience - regardless of whether you share your experience - can be valuable by helping to inform how services work or demonstrating a genuine understanding of a victim survivor’s experience.


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